The Team Behind Grand Central Introduces New Nightlife Concept, 1306
Courtesy of Bradley Knoefler

The Team Behind Grand Central Introduces New Nightlife Concept, 1306

In 1927, at 1306 N. Miami Ave., the rays of dawn washed over downtown as the Sunrise Bar and Grill served early-morning drinks to dirty men who sought a bit of relaxation after their night shift at the Port of Miami.

It's a historic bar that, over the years, changed many hands and wore many faces. By the early 2000s, it was a haven for budding hipsters and underaged party girls called White Room. By the 2010s, it was known as Eve.

But a couple of years ago, the party stopped. All became silent. Down the street, the Corner kept the rowdy drinking going past bedtime. Just south, Grand Central garnered lines around the block, but even that giant beauty fell at the hands of developer interest, and once again, a crew of nightlife aficionados searched for a home.

Enter once more the hallowed halls of 1306 N. Miami Ave., this time stripping away the old paint and stucco, redefining itself with warm finishes and wooden floors. The people who gave you Grand Central are back, albeit slightly grown-up. Without catchy names or gimmicks, they proudly introduce to you their new home, 1306.

"It's got a totally different feel and it's got a totally different feel from even the other bars around town," says partner Brad Knoefler, former owner of the now-defunct Grand Central. "There's a place [in Paris] called Prescription that I go to all the time. It's very luxurious. You feel like you're in someone's home."

Such is the concept behind the 1306 front bar, a cozy place for sophisticated drinkers to enjoy from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night of the week. You'll find no $3 beer special here, just a signature menu of craft cocktails designed by Virginia King of Broken Shaker fame.

Tables will adorn the well-lit sidewalk outside, and happy hour takes a European twist. Instead of half-priced drinks, customers will enjoy regularly priced drinks with a complimentary food plate – meats, cheeses, and an assortment of finger foods – simply for stopping by and ordering a round.

The bar component will stay rather small, like a high-end version of the Corner, if you will. That leaves the courtyard and back lot area open for 400-capacity shows and parties.

"One of the things we found was Grand Central was either too big or too small," Knoefler says. "It'd be too small and we'd lose big concerts to the Fillmore, and then you'd have a 200-person event and it felt huge. This is a nice sweet spot, and I think there's a big demand for event spaces right now because of all this crap closing."

Brad Knoefler's new concept will be much different from Grand Central.
Brad Knoefler's new concept will be much different from Grand Central.
Courtesy of Bradley Knoefler

Poplife, the crew behind Grand Central's bookings, will return for its smaller shows, as will other promoters and customers looking to rent a private space for parties or corporate events. 1306 had its first run during Basel week as the home of Saturday's Baby's All Right and Poplife collaboration, Baby's All Basel.

"It was just so cozy," Knoefler says. "You feel like people are just hanging out, a totally different vibe than you find in Miami. I find that vibe all the time in New York and Paris. It wasn't a bunch of crazy people. It was chill, and I think the nice finishes make people treat it a little better."

Knoefler and his partners see 1306 as a great addition to Miami's most emergent entertainment district. Instead of being in direct competition with the Corner, Libertine, Newstand, E11even, Heart, or Space, 1306 sees itself as another piece in the overall puzzle. It wants to grow with the area, create something special. Best of all, the old Cuban landlords who own 1306 and the surrounding properties have no intention of ever selling to giant developers.

"No one is going to come and tear down the block," he says. "Wynwood is becoming a clusterfuck with the traffic. I'm not a big fan of Little River – I know everyone is talking about that, but for me, it's too far from the core. I think we'll be a little island of interesting, cool, funky stuff for a long time to come."

A specific opening date hasn't been announced yet, but 1306 hopes to have its grand opening in January 2016.

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